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What a race!

Copyright: Linnéa Isaksson @Follow The Sun Photography

We managed to be very active on social media but there has been little times for detailed updates here on the website. So, if you want to catch up on what has been happening our instagram and facebook pages are the best places to check out.

I will try to sum up the first 5 days in this quick update.

It has been challenging. Both for the athletes and the crew. The great news is that we have our first winners. Also, the 185 km race is over. Not all athletes for this distance showed up or were able to finish. The overall winner in the “short” distance is Michaela Senft from Switzerland. Other finishers are Olivier Vriesendorp, Ben Clayton-Jolly, Katy Parrott, John Beel and David Abratt. Congratulations to you all! A big thank you to Roger Cook, Jo Bradshaw, Thomas Werner and Jonty Warneken for having tried.

Florian Reiterberger reached the 500 km finish line with his MAXX fat bike a few hours ago. William Robertson was hot on his heels for most of the race and he still is the one likely coming in 2nd rank. Both have been extremely strong and steady. Congratulations to Florian!

Some of the 500 km participants had to withdraw. At the moment that is Stefan Zahlten, Thanh Vu and Jeroen Roodenburg. Everybody else is still going.

Like Florian, William is on a bike. The first guys on foot are Kevin Leahy and Tiberiu Useriu. They are now in absolute competition mode and really trying to outsmart each other for the podium. I would not be surprised if at some point soon they will actually start running to see who gets tired first. Not saying they are not tired already … Most other athletes will be focused on finishing rather than a certain rank. All of them have their little struggles. We have seen a lot of blisters and very wet feet but we also have seen many of smiling faces.

The last couple of days have been very warm. Too warm really. As this means the trails are soft and the average speed they all can achieve is slower. In these conditions layer management remains important. With too many wet clothes, even – 5 degrees can become unpleasant. This is especially true with wet footwear and being exhausted.

The Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra 2022 has started!

Copyright: Linnéa Isaksson @Follow The Sun Photography

We had an absolutely fantastic pre-race dinner last night at Jockfall and as if that was not enough, when we were done eating, all could see some really great Northern Lights.

Today then we all gathered for the start at the Grand Arctic Resort in Överkalix. It was simply amazing. The weather was great, everybody really happy and a lot of locals to come and cheer the athletes on. Thanks to Kaati’s Reindeers we even had some reindeers with us 🙂

Only 5 more days!

Copyright: Swedish Lapland

It has been a very busy few weeks. Many people here in the Heart of Lapland have joined forces to make sure the participants of the first Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra (MLAU) will have an adventure of a lifetime. The regional snowmobile clubs and volunteers like Robin Landin, Henrik Drugge and Daniel Cedering have spent countless hours grooming and marking trails.

The weather has changed considerably. Not long ago it was – 25 degrees Celsius and all trees were covered in snow. Wind and warm temperatures have impacted the landscape. Now most trees are green. Luckily there is still plenty of snow on the ground. If it does get colder again for the race, the warm temperatures now are not so bad. They will help the trail to firm up where it was groomed. And it looks like it will get a bit colder again. However, we could still be in for soft trails during the day. Often that turns out to be more of a problem than extreme temperatures. All we an do now is hope for the best.

Diane Patrick, who will head the volunteer crew, arrived today and more crew will join us March 3rd and 4th. I was able to meet and talk to the school kids who did our beautiful signs and we have started to put these in place. Jockfall is ready and our hosts are looking forward to all the international guests. Also, the recently re-opened Grand Arctic Hotel in Överkalix will have some of our athletes. All the checkpoints are ready and can’t wait to be part of this.

In the meantime, 12 MLAU participants have started their training course with Rimfrost Adventures near Kalix. I dropped off some kit earlier today and they all were in a great mood, looking forward to the rest of the course and the race.

During the race you can follow the athletes on the SOS Satellite tracking map embedded here on the website. Also, we will keep you up to date via social media and news.

To all athletes: Please have a look at the schedule and make sure you are aware of the timing before the race.


Sveaskog supports efforts for MLAU trail

Copyright: Fredrik Broman

Sveaskog has got more than 800 employees throughout Sweden and is owned by the Swedish state. This company owns 14% of the forest land in Sweden, making them the country’s largest forest owner. Sveaskog sells sawlogs, pulpwood and biofuel to customers, primarily in the pulp and paper and sawmill industries. They also works with land transactions and develops the forest as a venue for hunting, fishing and other nature-based experiences. Sveaskog is the Swedish market leader within forest regeneration and seedlings through Svenska Skogsplantor. The forest and its assets are Sveaskog’s core business. Conducting forestry operations and developing new business opportunities and applications for wood raw material, wood products and forest land are a major responsibility. Sustainable development permeates every aspect of Sveaskog’s business. A tree that is planted today will be harvested in 60 to 120 years. The growing forest and production of wood raw material make a substantial contribution to counteract climate change.

A lot of the trails we are using go through Sveaskog forests and we are lucky enough to be able to use some of their cabins as checkpoints, too. So, for the Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra it was a logical move to see if Sveaskog somehow wants to get involved. Thanks to Sveaskog’s strategic goal to develop forests also for activities, they were interested in finding out more and soon after decided to come on board. What’s great about the MLAU is that it helps develop and promote infrastructure that is there for anybody to use, particpants in our race, tourists and of course locals who enjoy the winter trails in the region – on foot, ski or snowmobile. Therefore, Sveaskog is happy to contribute with efforts that will go into trail breaking, maintenance and marking and maintenance of cabins. All absolutely vital things for the MLAU and great for all others who will venture out on this trail. Thank you Sveaskog!

Kahtoola sponsors MLAU 2022

There are more dangers to the winter than hypothermia and frostbite. It’s an obvious one! Yes, I am talking about slippery surfaces due to ice or snow. Right when I started organising the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra, almost 20 years ago, I knew it’s something I should look into. I quickly came across Kahtoola, a US-based company that was started by climber Danny Giovale in 1996. He had slipped on snow while descending from a mountain in the Italian Dolomites. Afterwards, he searched for a packable traction device for flexible footwear that could be used in more versatile situations than a bulky, heavy mountaineering crampon. Back then, Danny did not find anything that convinced him and invented the first KTS Hiking Crampon for flexible boots. The rest is history.

Since then Kahtoola has invented their famous MICROspikes which have helped make mountain adventures a lot safer. This combination of a chain and spikes is light, compact and super easy to use on any running or hiking shoe, and makes them well suited for steep, challenging snow and ice.

Another great product for winter running are the Kahtoola EXOspikes. They excel on a wide variety of terrain and surfaces because of the innovative profile and spike solution they feature. Plus the EXOspikes are incredibly abrasion-resistant and you can leave them on if your run or hike takes you over areas with no snow or ice cover. From fall to spring, when there is a chance of coming onto slippery trails in the mountains where I live, I have got my EXOspikes with me.

For the MLAU you can use either. The MICROspikes will give you a bit more grip on the steep up- and downhills. If your plan is to mainly use your spikes for those situations and otherwise you are confident you will be fine without them, that’s the product you should go for. If you feel more comfortable with traction also in less steep terrain and you want to wear them as a precaution a lot of the time, then I recommend the EXOspikes. They will feel more natural when the surface is hard.

For more information about Kahtoola please check out their website

Fjällcom – our partner for GPS tracking and communication

In recent years, tracking athletes during a race and thus making the adventure more visible for us and everybody back home, has become a very important feature. The Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra was one of the first races to use trackers for its participants. So, there has been no doubt about doing the same for the Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra. Especially in a remote location and with a non-stop race mode, where the field of athlete spreads out over extremely long distances, getting regular updates on people’s positions is a real advantage. In addition to that, tracking devices usually allow athletes to send messages to Race Headquarter, like „help“ or „I am okay“. And in case of a life threatening emergency, a participant can push the 911 button and initiate search & rescue.

For a service this important any race needs a reliable partner. For Sweden we have found a company like this and we are very happy to have them involved. It’s Fjällcom, a company based in Sweden and Israel, serving travelers all over the world. Anybody who is going on an adventure can rent trackers and satellite phones with them. In addition Fjällcom offers their own map solution and also a mobile APP that complement their service. For the MLAU they are developping an extensive map/tracking solution that will be embedded on our landing page and it will also available to any other races interested in working with Fjällcom.

In the Yukon we have always used SPOT trackers. Due to the less extreme temperatures in Sweden we will try out Fjällcom’s Garmin inReach devices. This comes with the great advantage that athletes will have 2-way communication via satellite at their hands. That way, if there is an issue, the person with the inReach can contact us with an individual message and receive an answer. This is obviously a perfect when it comes to quick solutions and dealing with some of the emergency scenarios.

Athletes can either bring their own inReach or rent one via MLAU. All information about how we use the inReach and Fjällcom’s services can be found in our FAQ section.

OutMeals – our official supplier of expedition meals

Studies conducted by Dr. med. Mathias Steinach from the Center for Space Medicine Berlin during the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra have confirmed that athletes during an extreme winter race burn incredible amounts of calories. We also know that eating enough is a key factor in avoiding hypothermia and frostbite. Like in Canada, we will provide a hot meal at most checkpoints during the Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra. However, that’s by far not enough. All athletes need to complement this with additional meals. The most popular way for athletes to achieve this, is by taking along expediton meals. As you would want from any meal, these should be of high quality and tasty. Something to look forward to on the next big break. That’s what OutMeals stands for since 2014. This Swedish company sells different brands and their focus is business with the military. However, they also sell some consumer brands, amongst them Blå Band.

As our official supplier OutMeals enables us to offer MLAU athletes to order Blå Band “Dry” meals at a reduced price. In addition OutMeals will make a free of charge bulk shipment to Jockfall of any pre-ordered food. That helps participants who make use of this offer to reduce weight in their luggage and/or to gain room for other items they need to bring with them.

Thank you OutMeals!

Cumulus Excuistic 1200 – the official MLAU sleeping bag

At any multi-day winter adventure the sleeping bag is a key piece of equipment. It will determine if you have a great night’s sleep or if you suffer. In really tough conditions it can even make the difference between life and death. So, when it comes to your choice of sleeping bag you do not want to compromise. At the same time, for most adventures weight and space are important factors. You want that durability and warmth but you also want to save as much weight and space as possible. Cumulus has got sleeping bags that have these traits. That is why I am super happy to announce that the Polish company Cumulus is now our official partner for sleeping bags.

Every product that is designed at Cumulus has to be as light as possible. They use advanced technical solutions, world-class fabrics and constantly improve their manufacturing techniques to achieve this goal. Cumulus was founded in 1989 by Zdzisław Wylężek who knew about the superb qualities of Polish down. From the beginning, Cumulus has closely cooperated with PERTEX®. Combining their lightweight fabrics with Polish down, Cumulus started the production of quality sleeping bags. By now they are an internationally recognized brand used by outdoor professionals all over the world. They completely control the production, which is fully based in Poland and meet highest ethical standards.

The official MLAU sleeping bag is the Excuistic 1200. Cumulus have created the Excuistic series with polar and winter alpine expeditions in mind. In designing them they used not only their vast experience in the production of down sleeping bags, but we also carefully listened to the needs of users. All Excuistic bags are filled with 900 Fill Power best Polish goose down and made with the reliable, water resistant outer fabric PERTEX® Quantum Pro 36 g/m². The Excuistic 1200 has as many as 53 down chambers, and their arrangement in two layers minimises the risk of creating cold spots. The side panels, running along the length of the sleeping bag, further reduce the possibility of any migration of down and help to stabilise it where the risk of disturbing efficient insulation is the highest. The advanced design of the hood and of the foot box gives extra protection to the most vulnerable parts of the body. The hood is adjusted by elastic cords, and the long pullers on the sliders are easy to grab with thick gloves. The sleeping bag has two internal mesh pockets, thanks to which it is easier to manage the pockets’ contents. The wider cut makes it possible to sleep in large expedition clothing and also to keep several items in it that most need protection from the cold. Cumulus have applied all these solutions while bearing in mind the need to keep the weight of the sleeping bag as low as possible, so that it still weighs only 2,145 g, of which 1,200 g is down.

Cumulus Excuistic 1200 Features:

  • Fill: 900 Fill Power ethically sourced Polish goose down
  • Shell: Pertex® Quantum Pro 36 g/m², 20-denier ripstop, DWR finish (100% Nylon)
  • Liner: Pertex® Quantum 29 g/m², 15-denier ripstop, DWR finish (100% Nylon)
  • 120 cm, 5 mm YKK® zip with 2 self-locking sliders
  • Zip slider with anti-snag system
  • Independently filled top and bottom of the sleeping bag
  • 2 down-filled zip insulating tubes
  • Additional anti-snag tapes on zip insulating tubes
  • Mummy shape
  • Anatomically shaped hood with an advanced, 3D construction
  • Advanced foot area construction for better protection
  • Construction: Double H-shaped chamber design
  • Differencial cut design
  • Separately filled front and bottom
  • 2 inner pockets for small items
  • Can be opened and ventilated
  • Can be combined with other Excuistic sleeping bags
  • Hang loops for storage and drying
  • Stuffsack and storage sack included

Cumulus Excuistic 1200 Specifications:

Down quality: 900 FP
Total weight: 1,920 g
Down weight: 1,200 g
Weight of unfilled sleeping bag: 720 g
Comfort temperature: -27 ℃
Limit temperature: -40 ℃
Extreme temperature: -62 ℃
Maximum user height: 192 cm
Length: 210 cm
Width (top/bottom): 87/60 cm
Stuffsack’s dimension (height/diameter): 30/29 cm
Stuff sack’s volume: 19 l
Number of down chambers: 53

BICO tutorials mandatory for all MLAU athletes

Hypothermia and cold injuries are amongst the main concerns when participating in any outdoor activity in winter. So, knowing how to avoid these dangerns is very important for all MLAU athletes. Unfortunately, we also know that – even with perfect preparation – participants can suffer from both, hypothermia and frostbite. In that case it’s important to know the warning signs, different stages there are and how to treat any injuries. This not just goes for self-analysis but also for a scenario where an athletes comes across a fellow competitor who is in trouble. When this happens, knowing how to help can safe someone’s life.

Therefore, I am very happy that the “Baby It’s Cold Outside” course exists. It’s an awareness and educational program about hypothermia and cold injuries developed for professional Search and Rescue Responders. It’s also great for anybody venturing out into nature during the cold time of the year.

So, any athlete in the MLAU needs to do the BICO course. It’s online, it’s free of charge and it can be split up over several sessions if need be. At the end of the course the system issues a certificate. To all athletes, please email me your certificate once you have done the course. Personally, I suggest you do it just a couple of weeks before the race. That ways things will be fresh in your memory. If you already did the course earlier this year, I suggest you do it again. Unless you are 100% sure you still know the answers.

Please meet Silverbullet Film

Whilst we will have the adventure of a lifetime, our friends, family and collegues only can follow us from at home. They will get to see some great photos and I already introduced you to Linnéa Isaksson, our local race photographer. Now I want you to get to know the company that will film the very first Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra. They will play a vital role for everyone not in the race who wants to witness what we are doing. And of course all athletes and crew members will enjoy seeing film material, too.

The company that will film the MLAU is Silverbullet Film. It’s a Swedish-based production company with extensive international experience, specializing in video production and digital distribution. They produce commercials, editorial content and digital concepts as well as communication strategies and creative thinking. They have not filmed any extreme winter ultras before. However, they have got plenty of experience filming in the outdoors during all seasons and they know how to tell a great story.

Our approach this time will be a different one to what we have done in the Yukon in the past. Rather than producing little features of 5 to 10 minutes for every second day of the race, we will try to have several shorter videos that we will share with you every day. After the MLAU is over, Silverbullet Film will then make a longer documentary for all of you to enjoy.

I can’t wait!

Here is a nice example of what Silverbullet Film can produce: